May Day March to Stop Deportations, Milwaukee 5.1.14 (Courtesy: Joe Brusky Photography)
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin: “No one should fear going to a courthouse.”
After thousands of May Day marchers rallied at the Milwaukee County Courthouse yesterday to condemn federal immigration detentions at local courts across the state and country, head legislators are calling for an end to the courthouse raids.
“It is of the utmost importance that immigration enforcement is fair,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. “Recent reports of targeting of individuals who are seeking relief or conducting their civic duty at courthouses are deeply troubling. No one should fear going to a courthouse – this is a human rights and public safety issue.”
Recently there has been new energy across the country to challenge the escalated practice of ICE agents of detaining people at local courthouses. These raids are jeopardizing the hope of people to legalize, and undermining public safety by creating fear and distrust of law enforcement.
“Let us make it clear to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that access to our courthouses is a fundamental right in our democratic society,” stated US Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI).
“No person should feel afraid to seek relief from our courts when they need help, and no one should be afraid to pay their parking ticket.”
In February 2014, twenty-two Wisconsin state representatives sent a letter to ICE, calling for an investigation into racial profiling and intimidation at local courthouses.
“This is a national disgrace,” says Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera. “ICE’s outrageous recent decision, under the Obama administration, to not just continue but actually institutionalize raids in courthouses, should be condemned far and wide.”
In March of this year, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) met with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“When we met with Secretary Johnson, the demand to add courts to the national sensitive locations memo was one of the reforms that President Obama could implement under 30 days,” added Neumann-Ortiz.
“Obviously it fell on deaf ears. We applaud Senator Baldwin and Congresswoman Moore for standing on the right side of history.”